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Belgium > Pictures and travelogues > Waterloo: the Hougoumont farmhouse

Waterloo (Belgium): the Hougoumont farmhouse 

Waterloo: the Hougoumont farmhouse
Waterloo (Belgium): the Hougoumont farmhouse (2015).

The Hougoumont farmhouse-castle is one of three farmhouses that were garrisoned by the troops of the Duke of Wellington before the start of the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. It was located in the western flank of the Allied lines. On June 18, 1815, Napoleon opened hostilities with a furious attack upon the farmhouse. He hoped to persuade Wellington to reinforce the western end of his line at the expense of his center.

The Duke of Wellington did not fell into the trap. His troops managed to resist the onslaught of the French the whole day. Instead of being a diversionary attack, the Hougoumont battle became a battle in the battle of Waterloo. The French attacks upon the farmhouse followed one after the other, but without success.

A crucial phase occurred when some French were able to enter the farmhouse through an open gate. However, the British and their allies succeeded in closing the gate. As Wellington admitted, "the outcome of the battle of Waterloo turned on the closing of the gates at Hougoumont". Since then, the Hougoumont farmhouse has been the emblem of the heroic resistance of the English and their allies at the battle of Waterloo.

The farmhouse, completely ruined at the end of the battle, has been restored for the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo with the support of the United Kingdom.

The restored farmhouse was inaugurated in the presence of Prince Charles on June 17, 2015. The new monument placed at the northern gate of the farmhouse brings back the words of Wellington: "Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained".

Waterloo: the Hougoumont farmhouse (south side).
Waterloo (Belgium): the Hougoumont farmhouse (south side) in 2015.

Waterloo: chapel of the Hougoumont farmhouse
Waterloo (Belgium): chapel of the Hougoumont farmhouse in 2015.

The chapel escaped from the burning of the Hougoumont castle-farm in the late afternoon of June 18, 1815. Like the wall and the buildings of the farm, the chapel was restored on the occasion of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Just like the Lion's Mound and the Waterloo Memorial, the Hougoumont farmhouse is actually situated on the territory of the commune of Braine-l'Alleud, which is adjacent to Waterloo.

See also: pictures from historic farms of the battle of Waterloo.


See also

Belgium > Pictures and travelogues > Waterloo Memorial and Lion's Mound
Belgium > Pictures and travelogues > Waterloo: Monuments of the Battle

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The Hougoumont farmhouse played a crucial role in the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. The British repulsed all the attacks of the troops of Napoleon.